The Sunday dozen

17th March 2024

John Wyver writes: a little late this week, and I’m completing the choice on a train to Stratford-upon-Avon for a final RSC “goodbye” to Greg Doran – as usual, here are a dozen articles and audio elements that I found especially engaging this past week. Plus, although I don’t have an article linked to it, above is a room in the Royal Academy’s terrific Entangled Pasts: 1768-Now exhibition, with Hew Locke’s glorious Armada (2017-19) installed amongst a selection of grand manner history paintings plus a dazzling Kehinde Wiley portrait. Go see the show.

Arts & Ideas – Edward Bond: I failed last week to mark the death of one of the most significant post-war British playwrights, so I am delighted now to feature this excellent Radio 3 discussion about his significance, chaired by Matthew Sweet, with writer and director Mark Ravenhill, actor Kenneth Cranham, Professor of Contemporary Theatre Jen Harvie, playwright and archivist Tony Coult, and theatre director Claudette Bryanston.

Down the rabbit hole in search of a few frames of Irish American history: a totally delightful tale of the archive by Dan Barry, via The New York Times [gift link], with a lead role for Marie Dressler, seen below with Madge Evans in the 1933 film Dinner at Eight:

You need to wake up – Solaris Mon Amour: for Reverse Shot, David Schwarz reviews a Polish film by Kuba Mikurda that I really want to see: ‘a one-of-a-kind archival masterwork, essentially adapting [Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 novel] Solaris into a 47-minute film by poetically interweaving footage from 70 educational and industrial Polish films produced by the Educational Film Studio (Wytwórnia Filmów Oświatowych–or WFO) in Łódź, mostly from the early 1960s, and two different radio adaptations of Solaris (from 1962 and 1970).’

Links in the chain: Luke McKernan provides the backstory and a link to the publication online for the first time of his excellent 2011 essay, ‘Links in the chain: early newsreels and newspapers’; as he says,

The paper sought to to identify the roots of news as we now have it, though the emergence of different but interrelated news forms at the end of the nineteenth century, as film, then radio, then television and the web broke up the news monopoly previously enjoyed by newspapers.

Raúl Ruiz and The Eternal Memory: I enjoyed this Brooklyn Rail essay by Jaime Grijalba about the late Chilean director’s oblique journey to the Oscars.

Proximities of violence – The Zone of Interest: I continue to read all I can on Jonathan Glazer’s extraordinary film, and this by Amy Herzog for Film Quarterly is especially good.

Ten modernist council estates that made a “vital contribution” to London’s architecture: via dezeen, and taken from Thaddeus Zupančič’s new book, London Estates: Modernist Council Housing, 1946-1981, published by Fuel and illustrated with the author’s own exceptional photos, such as this of Denys Lasdun’s 1958 Sulkin House, part of the Greenways Estate:

Royal absurdities and eveil uncles: John Elledge on the Kate Middleton saga and why ‘the swirl of rumour and conspiracy theories these last few days have inescapably put me in mind of… the Princes in the Tower.’

Reading Taylor Swift as a cultural and political text: in the UConn Popcast, which I found via my feed on the brilliant podcast aggregator New Books Network, Stephen Dyson and Jeffrey Dudas ponder these among other questions: ‘What role in the culture does Taylor Swift play? How should we interpret her recent association with the NFL? How do the parasocial relationships of her fans – “Swifties” – to the artist herself contribute to authorship of the Taylor text. And how should we read the counter-subversive conspiratorial responses to her halting forays into electoral politics?’

The staggering ecological impacts of computation and the Cloud: from The MIT Press Reader, ‘anthropologist Steven Gonzalez Monserrate draws on five years of research and ethnographic fieldwork in server farms to illustrate some of the diverse environmental impacts of data storage.’ You really need to read this.

At Miu Miu, in Paris: Sophie Kemp goes to a fashion show, from The Paris Review.

Instagram as a narrative platform: from First Monday, a big, demanding and engrossing read by Mariya Kozharinova and Lev Manovich arguing that ‘that Instagram’s narrative capabilities are comparable to those of literature and film.’

• And finally: the great John Cale celebrated his 82nd birthday on 9 March; here he is with the best-of-all covers of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’:


  1. Patrick W says:

    Thanks for the Amy Herzog link especially….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *